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Undergraduate Student Government: The Backbone of the Student Body

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(Pic) USG Seal

As the new semester begins, student organizations and clubs are again in session and making the life on campus interesting. One of the most important organizations is the Undergraduate Student Government, which is run by students and serves the whole undergraduate student body. Many new students often do not realize what impact the USG has on many aspects of the University of Massachusetts Boston and that its decisions affect every single student. The following information should help to increase the awareness and understanding of the significance of this student government. 

Like any other government, the USG is made up of three main branches: executive, judicial and legislative. They all have their special duties and perform various activities.

The executive branch is made up of the President, Vice President and the Cabinet. Our current President, Kathleen Elliott and Vice President Ciro Castaldi act as the voice of all students. It is possible for any member of the student body to talk to the President directly by taking advantage of the walk-in hours or schedule a meeting.

The Cabinet members act as representatives of students at faculty and academic committees. Furthermore, they initiate projects in the name of the whole student body, on an individual or collaborative basis.

The legislative branch consists of the Undergraduate Student Senate. Every senator takes part in one of three committees, all headed by a chair. The Budget and Finance Committee (B&F) with its current chair Phillip Gustafson is responsible for managing the Student Activities Trust Fund. The B&F responds to all budget request from the various clubs and organizations at UMass Boston, for different activities and events, on and off campus. 

Elsewhere, the Campus Community Affairs Committee (CCA) with its current chair Caio Alvim focuses on enhancing the direct interaction between the USG and the whole student body. During the semester, members organize surveys and initiatives, and engage with students, staff, and faculty in order to find out more about their needs. Afterwards, they decide what goals the USG should set in order to serve the whole student body the best. Example targets from past semesters include the improvement of the UMass Boston Television System, and streaming the USG meeting live for everyone to access.

Lastly, the Student Events and Organizations Committee (SEOC) with its current chair Mark Torres, plays an important role on campus with regards to student clubs. It oversees all student organizations and student centers, finds and assigns venues and spaces, and manages organizations budgets.

Senators, the President, Vice President, and Student Trustee are all voted into office through the General Elections held each spring. If any of these positions are vacant come September, a Special Elections held in that month will fill them. In general, all matriculated students with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and time to attend the weekly meeting are eligible to be nominated.

Finally, the judicial branch has the vital role of keeping all USG activities in check and making sure all its members act according to the regulations and rules of the USG constitution and bylaws. They also ensure the transparency of USG activities on campus. If the Judiciary suspects any violations against the latter, it is also responsible to react accordingly. Furthermore, the Judiciary also manages the official USG records which can be accessed after a request to this branch.

Students interested in the activities of the USG or how it supports them can access more information at http://www.umbgov.com/ or attend a public Student Senate General Assembly every other Wednesday at 3:00pm in the Alumni Lounge at the Campus Center, starting September, 16.